After months—nay, years of rumors—it's finally official: Downton Abbey is heading to the big screen. (We'll pause a moment while you let that news sink in.)
"Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter," Focus chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement in early July 2018. "We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen."
Here's everything we know so far about the project:
The film will premiere in September.
Not in the U.S.? Here's when the film is premiering around the world:
The first trailer is finally here.
Watch it above. Two additional teaser trailers were released in early August, and offer additional sneak peeks at what's to come in the movie.
The first one previews the royal visit.
And the second shows Mary and Edith interacting on the dance floor.
While the two women seem to get along, there is still a bit of sibling rivalry. "Little flashes of sibling rivalries still return when Edith visits," explained Hugh Bonneville in an interview with Vanity Fair.
"But on the whole, the family is pulling together in the right direction and the forces of drama are actually external, which is quite fun. It's sort of Downton versus the world."
A third teaser takes fans behind the scenes of the upcoming movie. Watch that clip here:
The story will pick up in the fall of 1927.
The film will center around a royal visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Downton, a storyline inspired by a trip they really took to Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire in 1912. Here's what else we know:
Joanne Froggatt, who plays Lady Mary's long-suffering maid, Anna, teased that her character is finally in a "good place" in the film. "She and Mr Bates have a baby boy, now 18 months old," she said, also revealing that there will be "romance, fun, surprises, sadness and intrigue."
Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson, promised more screen time shared between Branson and Lady Mary. “You’ll see more of Branson and Lady Mary together,” he said. “They are a great team, and also in the film, more so than ever before.”
There's even a little romance. “Given the fact that he is one of the only ones left who hasn’t found love, one would hope and assume there is an opportunity for him to have an iota of a chance at finding something,” Leech told Entertainment Weekly.
According to Michelle Dockery, Lady Mary is "settled" in the film. “What you see is her for once being settled,” Dockery says. “[She and her second husband Henry Talbot are] very supportive of one another and they’re good friends. It’s nice to see Mary in that way as opposed to being in constant turmoil about her love life.”
Talbot, however, won't have a major role in the film. Matthew Goode, who plays Henry Talbot, said "I'm just popping in at the end, which is a nice way to do it."
Elizabeth McGovern spoke a bit about the tone of the film with Town & Country, but she kept the plot details light.
"I feel like the movie looks at all the characters with a really affectionate lens. In the way it’s written, there’s almost a nostalgia for all the characters," she said. "And I felt that myself, seeing everybody again in the costumes, and the things that they would say, hearing them again. It was a really nice little gift to be able to participate in it."
Laura Carmichael, who plays Lady Edith, was equally tight lipped about the storyline in a conversation at the TCAs, though she did tease, "I think everyone will be pleased. We've upped the ante, it's like turned the volume up."
Hugh Bonneville, however, spoke a bit more freely about his on-screen daughter's story. “There’s no question that Edith has found a great place in life. And I don’t think she’s particularly smug about it," he told Vanity Fair. "I think Edith fans, Edith devotees, always just long for her to be happy, and can be happy that she is happy."
And Robert James-Collier, who plays Barrow, says the movie "ties up a lot of loose ends."
"'Downton' is an established brand now, so for me it was a bit of a no-brainer to do a film. And I'm glad they did. It ties up a lot of loose ends and I think there was a demand for it," he told Metro. He also noted that Barrow goes on something of an adventure in the film.
There will be a few new characters in the film as well.
One new face, Lady Bagshaw, will be played by Imelda Staunton (you may recognize her as Harry Potter's Professor Umbridge).
“Downton was just luxury,” Staunton said of the filming process. “It was like a nice box of chocolates. It’s so much easier doing filming, I’m telling you."
She also shared that she's taken on the role of the Dowager Countess's sparring partner in the film. “Maggie [Smith] and I have great stuff. There’s no fisticuffs – but we don’t like each other. I’ve got things to do in that story. I have issues,” she said.
Other additions to the cast include Geraldine James (Anne with an E, Beast), Simon Jones (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Brideshead Revisited), David Haig (Killing Eve, Penny Dreadful), Tuppence Middleton (War and Peace, The Imitation Game), Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown) and Stephen Campbell Moore (History Boys, Lark Rise to Candleford). In late September, it was also confirmed by Deadline that Max Brown would appear in the production.
Expect gorgeous costumes, and even a few tiaras!
The Crawley family's clothes were a highlight of the Downton Abbey television series, and the film will be no different.
"I had to present quite an edited view of the characters' wardrobes–while still touching on all of the fashion highlights from 1927, where appropriate," costume designer Anna Robbins revealed during a conversation about women in the arts.
"That was actually the year that hemlines were shortest, but given the events of the film, it would have been inappropriate to have knees on display! I did get to play around with quite a few more tiaras though thanks to our newly married characters."
Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary in the series, also spoke of the film's grandeur. "There are more diamonds and fancier food," she told Vanity Fair, "and it’s really interesting to see that the family and the servants are not at the top. They’re now having to impress the royals, which I think is really great—to see them kind of getting in a bit of a tiz about the arrival of the king and queen. Mary is in true form of trying to keep everybody in order."
In a separate interview, she also mentioned that fans might recognize a few outfits.
"For my first Downton fitting I felt quite emotional putting those dresses back on," she told InStyle. "Some were reused, but because it’s a film, we also dialed it up a notch. We could afford to go slightly grander."
Big fans of the production will be glad to know a book about the film will be released in tandem with the movie.
Per EW, it will feature a forward by Julian Fellowes, as well as a behind the scenes look at the filming process. Pre-order it below:
A glimpse behind the scenes of the #DowntonAbbeyFilm! See more from the cast and crew in Downton Abbey: The Official Film Companion, available in book stores on September 17th. pic.twitter.com/lbKYcXd37f— Downton Abbey (@DowntonAbbey) August 13, 2019
Here are the film's official posters.
Each one features a different character—Mary, Edith, Andy, and Barrow—but they all say "We've been expecting you."
Another round of posters was released in June, featuring additional members of the returning cast such as Anna and Bates, Mrs. Patmore and Daisy, and
Mr. Molesley and Mrs. Baxter. See a few of here:
The first stills from the movie have been released as well.
See the first images from project, photos of Lady Mary, Lady Edith, Lord Grantham, Mr. Carson, and the Dowager Countess, below:
In honor of Valentine's Day, the official Downton Abbey account also shared these two new photos celebrating the film's love stories.
They've wrapped filming.
In late November, the official Downton Abbey Twitter account shared a behind-the-scenes video of the movie being filmed, along with the caption, "143 unforgettable scenes, 50 wonderful days, 1 glorious film. #DowntonAbbeyFilm. It's a wrap!"
That post came just a few weeks after Alastair Bruce, who serves as the historical advisor on the project, shared that the film had finished filming at Highclere Castle.
"Last night, we left @HighclereCastle after the filming [what] we needed for the upcoming #DowntonAbbey film - we staged the last scene in the kitchen courtyard - exactly where we shot the very first @DowntonAbbey scene at the start of filming for series 1 #whatajourney."
Last night, we left @HighclereCastle after the filming we needed for the upcoming #DowntonAbbey film - we staged the last scene in the kitchen courtyard - exactly where we shot the very first @DowntonAbbey scene at the start of filming for series 1 #whatajourney @FocusFeatures pic.twitter.com/lAHGTUULZn— Alastair Bruce (@AlastairBruce_) October 17, 2018
See a few more photos of filming process below:
On November 6, the official Downton Abbey Twitter account shared this sneak peek:
Bruce has also shared photos of Harewood House, a filming site he says "was perfect because of its entrance hall and gardens."
Another simply glorious location for filming the coming @DowntonAbbey movie - @HarewoodHouse was perfect because of its entrance hall and gardens. Also, I got the chance to do my #cameo - #DowntonAbbey experts may know I appear in every season - now in film too @FocusFeatures pic.twitter.com/ZIezqUrKWZ— Alastair Bruce (@AlastairBruce_) October 24, 2018
A few other photos of the set in Lacock, Wiltshire have surfaced as well. See a few below:
Maggie Smith will be coming back.
The news of Smith's return to the story comes as something of a surprise. She hasn't been so thrilled about continuing the Crawley story in the past. When asked on the Graham Norton Show if she was glad the show was over, Maggie Smith said, "Oh yeah."
"By the time we finished, [The Dowager Countess] must have been about 110. It couldn’t go on and on, it just didn’t make sense," she continued.
"I just think it's squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean?" she said during a 2017 interview with the British Film Institute. "I don't know what it could possibly be. It was so meandering, what would you [do]? Anyway that's not my problem."
But there are a few faces who won't be in the film.
Sadly, there are at least three TV cast member who will not appear in the adaptation. Actress Lily James, who played Lady Rose in the latter seasons of the show, has confirmed that she will not be in the movie. “My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back,” she told People.
“I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie, it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline,” she said. “There was no space for Rose.”
Ed Speelers, who played the ambitious footman Jimmy in the latter seasons of the show, will also be missing from the film. When asked about the film in a recent interview for Town & Country, he said, "I haven’t got a Scooby Doo about that. I’ve got friends in it, but no, I don’t know anything about it. I’m sure it’ll be lovely."
And Sue Johnston, who plays the Dowager's lady's maid Denker was originally in the film, but then her scenes were cut. "Denker was the first in the script and then the script disappeared," she said. "Imagine how I felt!"
Despite the rumors, Cousin Matthew won't make a surprise appearance.
Cousin Matthew Crawley was tragically killed off when actor Dan Stevens left the show, but he teased a potential comeback on Instagram last year. Stevens posted the picture below on his Instagram account along with the caption, "Should Matthew have a mustache for the #DowntonAbbeyMovie...? Vote below... ☑️ ❎"
But in February 2019, he clarified that he is "not returning" to Downton.
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